Cigars all around
April 5, 2009 | They're here! After two weeks of sitting serenely on her nest, mama hummingbird now makes frequent trips away from the nest, followed by feeding behavior.
When she comes back from her forays, she perches on the edge of the nest and sticks her beak down into the center of the nest. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of a head or beak as they crane their necks and open their beaks for a tasty morsel.
The timing is right. It has been two weeks since I noticed her sitting on the nest, and the experts at RubyThroat.org say it takes about 16 days for hummingbird eggs to hatch. They baby birds must be tiny. The discarded eggshell lying on the patio this morning is dwarfed in comparison to a penny. Supposedly newly hatched hummingbirds weigh about .62 grams, one-third the weight of a dime.
Something else I didn't know, is that hummingbirds don't just drink nectar from flowers — they feed on small insects and spiders. To grow the babies need protein, not carbs. Much more about baby hummingbirds can be found at worldofhummingbirds.com. The descriptions of nesting and feeding fit perfectly with what I've observed.
If you look carefully, you'll see the baby birds poke their heads and beaks up over the edge of the nest, ready to be fed.
By the way, what's up with the tradition of passing out cigars when babies are born? Is this an analogue of the cardinals sending up a puff of white smoke when they've elected a new pope?
Last updated on Jul 18, 2016